Hayao Miyazaki Joins Volunteers to Help Clean Up "Totoro's Forest"

posted on by Bamboo Dong

Over 200 volunteers convened on January 18 for the annual cleanup of Fuchi no Mori forest, known by many as "Totoro's Forest," said to have inspired Studio Ghibli's My Neighbor Totoro. In attendance was the film's director and creator, the legendary Hayao Miyazaki.

Miyazaki, who also happens to live near Fuchi no Mori, has been greatly involved with the preservation of the forest over the years, donating both his time and money to the cause. The director also helps clean nearby rivers with local residents every week, and makes sure his daily walks are trash-free. Much of the community clean-up efforts are organized by the Fuchi no Mori no Kai group, of which Miyazaki is the chairman.

This year, volunteers concentrated on clearing unwanted vegetation from the forest, using sickles to cut down the overgrown bamboo and replace old stakes. The Mainichi Shimbum also has photos from the event.

The Fuchi no Mori area spans 5,700 square meters (1.4 acres, or just slightly bigger than the size of an American football field). The artists from the American computer animation studio Pixar and other studios held a charity in 2008 to help preserve another forested area in the Sayama Hills that inspired Totoro. Miyazaki offered to design a new park on a Tokyo parcel of land where a house known as "Totoro's Home" once stood until it burned down in 2009. The restored park opened in 2010.

Source: Asahi Shimbum; images from Asahi Shimbum, Mapbinder

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